Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes wants the NFL to go high tech to improve officiating.
The NFL has a microchip in every football as part of its data tracking, and bits of that data are sometimes revealed to the public through the league’s Next Gen Stats. But Mahomes says the chip should also be used to alert the officials to when a ball crosses a goal line.
“I’ve always thought the chip in the ball has to happen sometime, where if you cross the line, it just tells you a touchdown,” Mahomes said on the WHOOP podcast, via the Kansas City Star. “The biggest thing to me is when they get in the pile by the end zone, there is literally no way to tell if he’s in the end zone or not. It’s like you said, it’s just whatever they call. … I’m sure it’ll happen soon enough.”
The problem, however, is that on most touchdown calls, the question is not just, Did the ball cross the goal line? The question is usually, Which happened first, the ball crossing the goal line or the runner’s knee touching the ground? And a chip in the ball can’t answer that question. Even if the NFL used an instant replay system that benefited from a microchip that told the replay official exactly when the ball crossed the goal line, that wouldn’t necessarily help the official figure out when the runner, whose knee is obscured by a pile of players, went down.
So a microchip in a football might help with some replay reviews, but it wouldn’t necessarily be the major fix that Mahomes is hoping for.